The very first passenger jet aircraft was the de Havilland Comet 1. Designed and produced in Great Britain, this revolutionary aircraft first flew in 1949 and entered service in 1952.

You would be very lucky to have flown on board this aircraft, as they were only in service for two years before being withdrawn. BOAC, Air France and UAT were the three airlines to have them in service. Why did they have such a short career?

de Havilland Comet 1 Video

The people who put together the video of the Dassault Mercure last week also produced this one. It provides an interesting overview of the de Havilland Comet 1 and why it was not a success.

Comet aircraft flew higher than any aircraft of the era, being the only jet aircraft in service. This meant the cabin was pressurised which is the same as aircraft today.

Unfortunately little was known about metal fatigue due to repeated pressurisation of the fuselage when it came to such high altitudes. For the Comet, this meant they had a tendency to explode in mid-air once the cabin failed.

A major investigation discovered the reasons behind the failures. Aircraft manufacturers took the hard earned lessons from the Comet and applied them to future aircraft. This is why depressurisation due to metal fatigue is virtually unheard of nowadays.

Overall Thoughts

Pioneering work by the British almost had them steal a march on jet aircraft production. The Comet was so well received that even America’s Pan Am placed orders for the aircraft, which was considered a ringing endorsement at that time.

While the Comet 1 went out of service, a strengthened and enlarged version called the Comet 4 entered service in 1958 and flew successfully through to 1980 when Dan-Air flew the final services.

Did you ever fly on a Comet 1? Maybe a Comet 4? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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